Monday, 6 July 2009

Interviews with my Friends - Part 1 - Al

Hey there bloggy friends!

Welcome to the first installment of a new thang on the blog - "Interviews with my friends." These people aren't, for the most part, famous, but they're famous to me. The people who make life a story worth telling. The first friend I'm interviewing is Al - because he happened to be on Skype when I finally got around to the idea. The interview took place last Sunday.

Interviews with my friends – Part 1. Al.

Debbie: Can I interview you?

Al: Sure.

Debbie: You have to try hard to think of good answers.

Al: On skype?

Debbie: Yeah, why not?

Al: Not in person??

Debbie: No, no, no. It's way easier this way. I can just copy and paste your response.

Al: So long as you correct the speeling mistakes.

Of course, Im a gareat spealler.

Al: I see what you did there.

Debbie: Okay, what is your favourite animal and why?

Al: The Monkey, because it reminds me of childhood. Perhaps my own childhood.

Debbie: What about your childhood? Were you really into monkeys as a child?

Al: No.

Debbie: Were you a monkey-like person?

Al: I just detect a lot of similarities retroactively between my behaviour and that of a monkey…

Was there some sort of sordid experience with a monkey that you'd rather not mention here...? Can you give me an example? Okay, Bananas, for example. Are you a fan?

Al: I would wear my underwear over my face at times and run around pretending I was a superhero. Also let me finish an answer before you type something new.

(still typing simultaneously.) And this is something you believe a monkey would do, if said monkey were asked to wear underwear? (looking up to read the screen.) Oh. I apologize.

Al: No problem.

Debbie: I am laughing pretty hard right now. It's hard to keep track. When you are done answering, type *

Al: It was actually a very sweet time in life, and those were very earnest antics. I craved anonymity, hence the underwear over the face.

But how does that relate to the monkey? Why do you associate anonymity with monkeys?

I don’t know, I just feel a monkey would embody the same temperament, and I do find their faces, especially eyes, quite forlorn. So that dichotomy of unabashed playfulness mixed with internal melancholy, ever present though implicit, is to me, characteristically a human condition. *

What motivates you?

Al: Life as a narrative. Sculpting it the way you would like to be read, seen at the last chapter, and still feeling it to be worthy, enjoyable, perhaps funny but a little beautiful as well. *

Debbie: If you could pick any 3 people to watch any 3 movies, which people and which movies would you pick, and where would you choose to screen them?

Al: Umm...

Debbie: You're all getting together somewhere, and the movies are your pick. The people can be dead, and chat will ensue.

Al: That makes it even harder.

You can change your mind later, if you need to.

Al: I’d like to watch "A Fistful of Dynamite" with Sevi, my sister.

Debbie: That's a nice answer. Has she already seen it?

Al: Yes, many times. It is a particularly a personal experience for me, though the movie itself doesn’t have much to do with what it invokes in me or Sevi. Both of us have seen it many times before, but not for the last 15 years or so.

It’s sort of like her watching you play video games I guess? It’s a brother sister bonding thing.

Al: Not really.

Debbie: Then why?

I think she likes the film that all to be honest, but she would appreciate the era in our lives of which that film was representative of. A backdrop of sorts to our antics.

(a moment later)

Al: That was supposed to be "i DONT think..she likes the film" and the second "of" is also redundant.

Debbie: Don't worry. I'm a grammatical psychic.

Al: Good. It s hard to type with one hand on the keypad , and another on my know willy nelson.

Debbie: It’s not that kind of interview. Are you still thinking of your other 2? You don't have to answer if the question is too esoteric. (Not even sure if esoteric is the right word there.)

Al: No, not the right word here, but I’d like to omit the rest if possible. I am tempted to pick a despot and choose a movie that could potentially change his approach to ruling the people , improving his susceptibility towards democracy, but "Singing in the Rain" rarely produces that effect on known Stalinists.

What do you think is your greatest weakness?

Al: Discipline. And spelling. My handwriting is also abominable and humiliates me often. *

Debbie: Okay, if you were a benevolent (?) dictator of the world for a day, what rules would you implement and how would you change things?

Al: For one day only?

One day, but your rules will stick.

I would introduce a stock-transference tax. I would allocate those revenues for development work, under the guidance of my friend Ramin whom I trust and who thinks similarly in that sector.

'Splain some for the more simple readers.

Al: Sure. That is, a small percentage of any transaction taking place in any market would be deducted as a tax to fund global projects. It has been kicking around as an idea for some time now, and I find it a very viable initiative for balancing out macro-scale capitalist machinery with a redistributing capacity.

Debbie: I agree. I just worry about who would decide what these "projects" are, and who would carry them out... though Ramin seems like a good man for the job.

Al: There is a manifesto somewhere on the web with that proposal that I can send off to you.

Debbie: Send me a link and we'll put it on the blog.

Al: Sure.

(Still waiting for that link, Al… Perhaps it doesn't exist?)

Debbie: Okay, second last question...You ready?

Al: Sure.

Debbie: If you were me interviewing you, what question would you ask yourself? And how would you answer it? (This requires a bit of schizophrenic reasoning, but it's good for you. Trust me.)

Al: What? If I were doing it to myself?

Debbie: Yes. What question should an interviewer ask you?

Al: For a job? What setting?

Debbie: Not for a job. In an interview. Like this one. Just interviewing you for who you are.

Al: I think we all have certain things that we hold to be closer to us than other aspects, information or traits. Those things will always inevitably find their way to the surface and make themselves pronounced no matter what the pretext is.

Debbie: So your answer is that you wouldn't ask yourself a question at all?

Al: No.

Debbie: Okay, last question-

Al: Hold on. I am saying that the answers that I would be likely to give could be reproduced for a great many questions. So the essence, which are the answers, are somewhere in them and can accommodate just about any type of questioning. I hope that makes slight sense.

Debbie: Yes. That does. So how are you?

Al: I am well, thank you . Slightly hung over and a bit nostalgic, but overall very happy and slightly proud. 

Debbie: Okay - last question now. Are you ready?


Debbie: This is a common question that I'm going to ask in all the interviews... (ahem) What do you think makes us friends?

Al: I enjoy your company and you seem to endure mine. Hope it can stay that way.

Debbie: I love enduring your company! It's one of my favourite activities!

Al: Glad to hear that ... Though I haven’t been mentioned in your FB profile, in the activities section you know, and that is the ultimate truth. Everything else is half-truth.

Debbie: I like to keep my activities private. You never know who is looking.

Sure. People like me would read those activities, and accidentally run into you while you were engaged in them. … “accidentally.”

I was also typing “accidentally” at the same time you typed it. You ate my punchline again. (Al has a tendency to say the punchline after I've just set up a joke.)


Oh, hey, maybe I should ask you for your favourite joke… That’s a nice way to end the interview.

Al: No.

Too much pressure?

Al: Yep. And to me humour is always situation based at any rate.

Debbie: You do have a way with humorous situations. That’s probably tied into your “Life as a Narrative” thing.

Al: More like… Life as a joke… Running without a punchline. Till you die and we all laugh.

Debbie: A very scary punchline.

Al: Hopefully.

Al was born in Iran and lived there until he was 17. He has since lived in Canada, Spain and the UK in that order. He is currently a jack of many unrelated trades living down the road from me in London. Though we haven’t always been friends, we’ve known each other for eight years. We were in the same frosh group in our first week at university, and this is a fact which I only recently realized. It makes me smile every time I think about it.

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